Summary of the 2009
American Psychological Association
Task Force Report On Sexual Orientation
• The Task Force showed no interest in investigating the causes of homosexuality, stating erroneously that it is a “scientific fact” that homosexuality is as normal as heterosexuality. Nothing in the Task Force report substantiates their assertion that same-sex behaviors are “positive.” In fact, research shows indisputably that homosexuals and bisexuals have a significantly higher rate of mental-health problems than do heterosexuals.
• They failed to acknowledge the life-threatening health risks associated with gay male sexual behavior, and the fact that a significant percentage of gay men prefer risking death to using a condom.
• The Task Force demands an impossibly high standard of proof for reorientation therapy which it does not demand of any other therapy. APA must address the fact that gay-affirmative therapies are, by the same standard they have set, “unproven.”
• The Task Force stated that family factors, gender identity and trauma are not implicated in the development of homosexuality. They cited various studies as evidence for their claim. However, when only two of these studies were methodologically investigated by NARTH Board member Christopher Rosik, Ph.D., Rosik found that the McCord, McCord and Thurber study (1962), for example, failed to meet at least 10 of the 16 standards of proof by which APA rejected the sexual-reorientation research as “insufficient.” Another study cited by the Task Force (Kurdek, 2004) violated at least 8 of the 16 same standards of proof set by APA. Therefore, serious concerns must be raised about APA’s politically selective use of scientific standards.
• The Task Force deems studies of successful sexual-orientation change to be of lesser scientific worth than other studies because they appear in less prestigious peer-reviewed publications. Top-tier journals, however, have a strong reluctance to accept such studies because their editors will pay a career price for doing so.
• Gay-activist members opposed to reorientation therapy were the sole members of the Task Force. Some of them, such as Jack Drescher, M.D. (the author of “The Joy of Gay Sex”) are well-known as highly vocal opponents of reorientation therapy. All members were on record as in opposition to reorientation therapy prior to their selection for the Task Force.
• As homosexually oriented individuals themselves, the Task Force members would inevitably be invested in demonstrating that “If change did not work for me, then it cannot work for you.”
• Every reorientation therapist who applied to join the task force was rejected by the APA for inclusion, including George Rekers, Ph.D., A. Dean Byrd, Ph.D., Joseph Nicolosi, Ph.D., Mark Yarhouse, Ph.D., and Stanton Jones, Ph.D.. all of whom are well-known and much-published professionals who have been active in studying sexual reorientation therapy throughout their careers.
• Two very important recent studies (Spitzer 2003, see paragraph below) and Jones and Yarhouse 2007) which showed successful reorientation for at least some clients, were treated in a very cursory manner in APA’s report.
• The Task Force ignored the advice of the psychiatrist who was instrumental in removing homosexuality from the diagnostic manual—Robert Spitzer, M.D. Spitzer said, in his study published by the Archives of Sexual Behavior (vol. 32, no. 5, October 2003, pp. 403-417) “Many patients, provided with informed consent about the possibility that they will be disappointed if the therapy does not succeed, can make a rational choice to work toward developing their heterosexual potential and minimizing their homosexual attractions….to make such a choice should be considered fundamental to client autonomy and self-determination.”
• The Task Force showed no interest in studying those individuals who reported treatment success and in investigating the reasons for success in their cases. Nor did they report on the spontaneous changes of sexual attraction that have occurred in homosexually oriented individuals without any therapy at all.
• The Task Force failed to exhibit an appreciation for the long-established worldview that sees gender complementarity as representative of rightly ordered human wholeness. The APA must recognize this worldview, too, as a legitimate expression of socio-political diversity.
Jones, S. L., & Yarhouse, M. A. (2007). Ex-gays?: A longitudinal study or religiously mediated change in sexual orientation. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press Academic.
McCord, J., McCord, W., & Thurber, E. (1062). Some effects of paternal absence on male children. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 64, 361-369.
Kurdek, L. A. (November, 2004). Are gay and lesbian cohabiting couples really different from heterosexual married couples? Journal of Marriage and Family, 66, 880-900.